In his opening plenary, John Tooley brought up the attributes of great people which help them get through a mess. The attribute John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King shared—focusing on what can be not on what is; not complaining, but adapting—is evident in this National Virtual Conference.
As you know, there are stumbles along the way, but figure that if we were in person, similar technical difficulties—even with a staff of union stage-hands floating around with gaffer tape, and tiny flashlights—there would still be snafus. Perhaps the previous presenter pocketed the remote for the projector. Needing to exchange mics out. Lights left on (or off) because the packed crowd was obscuring the wall switch. “Is this mic on?”
Here in the virtual conference, standing-room-only popular sessions, forcing some to crouch with their backpacks on the floor don’t happen. Also missing here is one of my favorite dillemas: FOMO—the fear of missing out. During in-person sessions, do you sometimes find yourself sitting in one, wondering if you should be in another? Sure, in person is more suitable for networking—we’ve had more practice at it, and it’s simply better. But it’s bringing out the best of us to adapt to what is.
Today, we all have a front row seat. Technical difficulties are solved by a tight crew flurrying in the background to solve issues. Sessions are contiguous, not coincidental, so FOMO is not an issue.
And I cried to John Tooley’s opening Plenary slideshow in the privacy of my own home.
Another benefit wasn’t expected: During Rebecca Olson and Mark Tajima’s show on Remote Energy Assessments, the chat box was alive with commentary. In the event of an in-person session, you might whisper, send a text to a workmate, or wait until spilling into the hallway. But this was immediate. People were gushing compliments, and voicing critically, both. And asking questions. You could take the pulse of that audience by that narrow scrolling box of tape and really hone your audience, as well as give audience another dimension of information.
This was a session particularly about adaptation. As Rebecca Olson pointed out, “There will be a point after this period where customers will be uncomfortable having people in their homes…and then just whether you acknowledge this with your customer or your staff… enforce that this is not a full replacement for an audit…this is a supplement with different goals…this allows them to let go of those expectations they might have [for an in person audit.]”
Meanwhile, in the chat box, there was some commentary about the realities of getting an older dweller to get a ladder and flashlight and climb in their attic with a camera; citing three things they may not own, along with the mobility factor. Yet the customer who can participate will know their home better. Will the customer lie to the contractor even more over a Skype meeting than in person? Good questions, all, and some that may or may not have been raised in person.
Donning John Tooley’s attribute #3, Jeaneen Zappa, ED of Conservation Consultants, Inc. chimes in: “It is NOT an audit. This is an entirely DIFFERENT business model. Seems that it's really out of step with the WAP paradigm but it's happening and we are all being disintermediated out of jobs if we don't figure out how to reclaim the role of the EXPERT and maybe work.”
John Tooley cites JFK’s moving “We choose to go to the moon” speech. Another event like this pandemic that the whole world was watching; one of unifying people for a cause, regardless of culture. Hundreds of thousands of people got to work, all over the world. But just as compelling a moment was the failed mission, Appollo Thirteen, which by an act of utter adaptation and creativity from hundreds of people on the ground along with the three astronauts, brought a failed mission back to Earth safely, focusing on what is.
What it is, people. Wish we were together. And see you at the conference!
Did you miss Kevin and Joe’s session, fear not, you can binge-watch all of the conference here soon!